December 2nd 2020

UN/WHO – Cannabis is a Global Medicine

It was time for a decision and the wait is over! It is now official; Cannabis is a Global Medicine and the CTA thoroughly welcomes this momentous vote for change.

The World Health Organisation have today endorsed the major change that the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) first suggested in 2019. The request for the review was first made in 2009 by member states.

The UN had already delayed the vote on this series of new policy choices. After a 60 years of misinformation and politics about Cannabis, the UN have recognised its therapeutic value.

The ECDD offered a matrix of changes to be voted on. The most important was the removal of Cannabis from Schedule IV which passed and now means Cannabis is seen to have therapeutic benefits - Globally. This will start a cascade of events that will change how many national governments regulate Cannabis. The Cannabis industry will start to become a real force for positive, sustainable change that the world is looking for.

The rest of the UN votes on December 2nd really showed politics are still at play in Cannabis policy which is not lead by science even now. Unfortunately, the UN did not remove CBD from the control system which would have been a major positive change in policy.

The challenge is now to make sure eligible patients have access to the widest possible range of medications. From herbal product with complete entourage effect to isolated pharmaceutical preparations. The world can look forward to a greener future and this is the start of the real global change.

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Contact: Tim Henley, CTA Communications Director -


ECDD statement

The Background

The UN commission on Narcotic Drugs 63rd Session has just voted on the World Health Organisation recommendations for rescheduling Cannabis and Cannabis related substances for Medical & Scientific purposes affecting the 1961 and 1971 Conventions.

The auspicious meeting held on the 2nd December 2020 amid COVID restrictions has set the scope for international regulation for the next decade at least.

The meeting has voted on a series of complex changes put forward by the independent Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) convened by the World Health Organisation.

The changes put forward include removing

  • Cannabis and Cannabis Resin from Schedule IV 1961 convention

  • Delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol specifically to be added to Schedule 1 1961 and removed

  • from the 1971 convention.

  • To remove pure CBD completely from the scheduling to include a footnote in the Schedule 1 listing

    “Preparations containing predominantly Cannabidiol (CBD) and not more than 0.2% of Delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control”

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